Sunday, November 8, 2015

Fall Ramble-Sandstone Falls

Spent a wet, cool Saturday morning with my dad at Sandstone Falls, which are the largest waterfalls on the New River within the New River Gorge National River. There is a boardwalk crossing to two of the islands with terrific views of the river. Even though winter is at hand, there is much to explore and see, even on a grey day. I found an Aster still in bloom and many colorful sights.

West Virginia has beauty in every season if you are willing to get out into some less than idea weather .

I wanted to get there last month because I had heard there are native persimmons there, a native fruit. It was a little late in the season but I was able to find them and even though they were mostly mush, they had a great taste and I was able to take a few seeds home. I also found one that was still too hard to eat, but I tried and got a full taste of the astringent property that causes severe puckering. Which I can now say is the truth. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 2015 - North East West Virginia

On a recent trip to the North East of West Virginia I was able to see some interesting places

The first was Cranesville Swamp on the border with Maryland.This area is similar to Cranberry Glades a little further south.

 It is Fall now and there was little in bloom, but I did find a Nodding Lady Tresses in perfect bloom and it was very fragrant as well 

I also saw Northern Picture Plant

Cotton Grass

And a new Wildflower for me: #341-Flat-Topped Aster  Doellingeria umbellata

A historical site was Boundary Stone #18, one of the stones put in place by court order in 1910 to finally settle a century old boundary dispute

The next day I visited Cathedral State Park, the home of West Virginias last stand of Virgin Timber
The Hemlocks there are pretty awesome

One the road back I stopped to read a historical marker about the B & O Viaduct and was amazed to see the viaduct up the hill. It was built in 1852 and were attacked by Confederate forces during the Civil War.
I was able to scramble up the hill and walk around them some. The stones are handcut and at the base at least 10 feet long. Amazing engineering in the 1800's and still going strong today.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

September 2015 Wildflowers

Enjoying early Fall West Virginia Wildflowers.
Here are a few highlights

                                                                   Nodding Ladies Tresses


                            These are from a field near my home that has hundreds 
                                           of these Nodding Ladies Tresses each year


                                                                Great Blue Lobelia


                                  Blue Stem Goldenrod, Orange Jewelweed, Bushy Aster

                                   Tall Rattlesnake Root
                                     Tall Rattlesnake Root


                                                                Burr Marigold


             Huge hornets nest over the doors of a seldom used (I presume) church near Zenith, WV


                             View from the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory near Zenith, WV


A small flock of migrating Bulbats (Common Nighthawk) flitted around my home for a couple hours one evening last week. An interesting sight, but hard to photograph 

                             A grandson tries paddling. He did catch a couple of fish.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Water and Wildflowers

Another kayak trip results in another wildflower first. I took my new kayak to a small local lake, presumably to fish a little. While paddling around the shoreline, I saw several nice Wildflowers plus this new one.
Water Smartweed (polygonum amphibium).
                                    #340 - Water Smartweed 

Others from the trip:
                           Arrowhead - A Water Plant 

              Cardinal Flower lobelia cardinalis

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Late Summer-Already???

I have a new kayak which I plan to use on ponds, lakes and maybe a really slow river, like the Greenbriar.
Today, I used it on a small pond near my house and fished places inassessable before. 

As I paddled around the shore line I found many late summer flowers plus a new wild flower for me, the Giant Bur-Reed,  Sparganium eurycarpum. 

There are male and female flowers shown here 
         #339- Giant Bur-Reed

Others seen today were:

                          Steeple Bush


                                Iron Weed

                             Virginia Bugleweed


Sunday, June 7, 2015

New Orchid

Early this Spring I saw an unusual dried seed pod which had characteristics of many Orchids that I have seen. So, I have been keeping an eye on it and today, I found it blooming. It is a Loesel's Twayblade, an Orchid that I have never seen or even looked for. I found it, like many others, just by being out and about and being observant. I spotted the seed pod on a logging road near my home while driving along. It has not been reported in Raleigh County before and is in the same vicinity of the Appalachin Twayblades I found last year (click for link), also a Raleigh County first.

Loesel's Twayblade with last years seedpod